With post-COVID complications, people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the pathogen responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has resulted in global healthcare crises and strained health resources.
Survivors of previous coronavirus infections, including the SARS epidemic of 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak of 2012, have demonstrated a similar constellation of persistent symptoms, reinforcing concern for clinically significant sequelae of COVID-19.
As per recent data, people infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus) may experience mild symptoms or be completely asymptomatic (showing no symptoms).
The severity and how long the coronavirus lasts in the body varies from person to person. Although most people with COVID-19 may recover within weeks of illness, some people may experience post-COVID complications.
Post-COVID complications are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Even people who did not have COVID-19 symptoms in the days or weeks after they were infected can have post-COVID conditions. These conditions can have different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time.
Moreover, As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, the different age groups of Covid-19 convalescent patients of the second wave of this pandemic have reported persisting symptoms.
These include loss of appetite, fatigue, sensitivity to cough reflex, bacterial infection, fungal infections, gastric issues, or other health complications related to the lungs, heart, limbs, intestine, and brain.
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These post-COVID conditions may also be known as long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, long-term effects of COVID, or chronic COVID.
Types of Post-COVID Complications and Symptoms
As per CDC and other research findings, the Covid-19 convalescent persons whether the illness was mild, or they didn’t have any initial symptoms, experienced different combinations of the following symptoms;
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Fatigue, Feeling of tiredness or lack of energy
- Body pain, Joint or muscle pain (Myalgia), or headache
- Pins-and-needles feeling
- Chest or stomach pain
- Change in smell or taste
- Changes in period cycles
- Coughing or Chest pain
- New onset diabetes
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities
- Inability to focus or difficulty thinking or a lack of mental clarity (also referred as “brain fog”)
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
- Insomnia, anxiety disorder, or depression
- Dizziness or lightheaded when you stand up from sitting or lying down (orthostatic hypotension)
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Apart from these post-COVID symptoms, if people are affected with COVID-19 infection and after recovery, they may experience these post-acute COVID-19 severe complications;
- Myocardial infarction (MI) – chest discomfort with or without dyspnea, nausea, and diaphoresis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Avascular Necrosis (also referred to as “Bone Death“)
- Pulmonary Embolism and Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a deep vein)
- Neurological symptoms – seizures, stroke, muscle weakness, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms – loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain or discomfort
- Hemothorax – a collection of blood in the space between the chest wall and the lung
- Pneumothorax – air leaks into the space between the lungs and chest wall
- Pulmonary fibrosis: it includes progressive lung fibrosis due to respiratory infections
- Arthritis – swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints
- Fungal infections like mucormycosis, aspergillosis, yellow fungus, etc.
Chronic Multiorgan Effects of COVID-19
The SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers long-lasting changes in the immune system, and it primarily affects the lungs.
Patients with severe illness of COVID-19 may experience autoimmune conditions or multiorgan effects for a longer time with symptoms lasting weeks or months after COVID-19 illness.
Autoimmune conditions happen when the own immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake. As a result, it causes inflammation (painful swelling) or tissue damage in the affected parts of the body.
The complications associated with a long COVID-19 infection may be the result of injury to multiple organs, including the lungs, brain, blood vessels, skin, nerves, kidneys, and heart.
Some people who had severe illness with COVID-19 experience multiorgan effects or autoimmune conditions over a longer time with symptoms lasting weeks or months after COVID-19 illness.
Multiorgan effects can affect most, if not all, body systems, including heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions.
Autoimmune conditions happen when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) or tissue damage in the affected parts of the body.
While it is very rare, some people, mostly children, experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) during or immediately after a COVID-19 infection.
MIS is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed. MIS can lead to post-COVID conditions if a person continues to experience multiorgan effects or other symptoms.
As per recent data COVID-19 mainly affect these organs and body parts;
Lungs: COVID-19-associated pneumonia causes long-term damage to alveoli (tiny air tube branches of the lungs), which helps in the exchange of atmospheric oxygen and blood carbon dioxide during the process of breathing.
The scar tissue developed due to chronic damage in the lungs can lead to long-term breathing problems.
Heart – Patients of post-COVID-19 recovery cause irreversible tissue death of the heart muscle, even in people who experienced only mild COVID-19 symptoms.
This may increase the risk of Myocardial infarction (MI) resulting in heart failure or other heart-related life-threatening complications in the future.
Brain – As per many reports, young people with COVID-19 also experience neurological symptoms.
These include muscle weakness, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, and can eventually cause paralysis (Guillain-Barré syndrome), dizziness, confusion, delirium, sudden blackout, seizures, and stroke.
COVID-19 may also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Kidney – Patients affected with COVID-19 can develop sudden loss of kidney function, known as acute kidney injury. Therefore, dialysis may be necessary in severe cases, but this type of kidney damage can sometimes be reversed.
People with CKD are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms post-COVID-19 recovery.
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